Abusive Authority Research Paper

1410 Words 6 Pages
Abusive Authority: Prison Guards and Pimps
Cana Rainwater
Charleston Southern University

Abusive Authority: Prison Guards and Pimps In 1971, a psychologist by the name of Philip Zimbardo created a “prison” in the basement of a psychology building to study the behavioral and psychological consequences of becoming a prisoner or a prison guard; the results were unexpected. Participants in the program showed evidence of psychological changes within thirty-six hours, and the experiment ended after only six days, eight days shorter than planned (REFERENCE). The power of a situation can overcome the power of one’s mind, as seen through the role-play of the participants. Zimbardo’s experiment is not an isolated or imagined event;
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Guards acted in a way that broke down the autonomy of the individuals imprisoned, and they controlled every aspect of the prisoners’ lives: when to use the bathroom, what to say, and what to eat (REFERENCE). Absolute control removes one’s capability of making decisions based on preferences and desires, so the sense of individuality wanes. Victims of trafficking cannot “determine when they work or sleep, what they eat, how many and which clients they accept, or whether they protect themselves by condom use” (ARTICLE). Survivors of sex trafficking experience difficulty making choices because their traffickers stole that liberty. Survivors of sex trafficking are more likely to develop anxiety when they experience restricted freedom (ARTICLE). The removal of freedom, as seen in the prison experiment, happens presently and results in alterations to the …show more content…
Those in power construct a social reality that skews the perspectives of both prisoners and victims of sex trafficking so drastically that the latter have erroneous ideas about themselves and their world. Prisoners in the experiment identified themselves by numbers when meeting with a Prison Chaplin, and they even confessed their alleged crimes when asked about the reason for their incarceration. Reality escaped them; one prisoner did not want to leave the experiment if his peers perceived him as “bad” because the lines blurred between reality and role-play (REFERENCE). Survivors of sex trafficking are often brainwashed by pimps. Many of them do not self-identify as a victim of sex trafficking, nor do they view themselves and relationships accurately. Through manipulation, pimps control the way their girls think, act, and respond. Creating a social reality, especially one that exploits a person’s vulnerabilities, affects a person’s psyche. Neither prisoner nor victim are able to accurately view

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